Awesome man of God! In our third week of revival,and he's now a part of our church! We love the Ballinger family!!
I met Bill Ferris when I was an undergrad at Ole Miss.(Univ. of Mississippi, Oxford.) I had met James Son Thomas at the school because Mr. Ferris had made arrangements to get him there and he was staying in the professor's house just off campus..Dr. Ferris was himself traveling in Africa at the time. I did a quick interview with "Son" for the campus TV (WCBH) That night at the Hoka, Son Thomas was single handedly shaking the walls with his rocking style of guitar an vocal.. he had everyone in the place singing and clapping and stomping their feet. Well, I pulled out my harmonica ( The real reason this New York boy was in Mississippi..) i've been trying to learn the Delta blues style since I was 11 by listening to old Sunny Terry, Brownie McGee records. Son looked up from his guitar pointed a finger at me and then pointed his finger at the edge of the stage where he was sitting and I went up there and sat right where he said and the rest was magic ... Well, I still hadn't met Bill Ferris yet.. after the show I asked Mr. Thomas if I could carry his guitar for him. While we sat outside soaked in sweat from the house party I felt like I was baptized in the blues... This young lady pulled up in an old pick up truck I believe her name was Christina, Son said something to her and she asked me if I wanted to come with. I stayed on a couch at Mr. Ferris's house for the rest of the weekend .. the rest is history. Fast forward four years,, I got to play a couple 3 tunes with Taj Majal on stage at the Paul Green theater in Chapel Hill, NC.. oh and I played my harpoon with the band Pipe for a tune at the Cats Cradle.. who's front man Ron Liberti posted this article and shout out to the Amazing Bill Ferris who I did eventually meet when I was just a pup in Mississippi.. hoddy toddy ya'll.. -Chip Jupitor Crell
This is a great article. Well chosen words. Thanks.
I'm leaving this comment here so there is a place on the internet where my name appears with Jonathan Byrd and Leonard Podolak, two of the finest and old friends by this point. I hope to find this comment again randomly sometime in the 20's.
This record is "All Over the Place". I mean that in the best way possible.
Also, someone said they didn't know Kelly but knew "Kelly's wife..." For the record, Kelly was never married-to anyone at anytime. Just a clarification. Admittedly, the relationship that produced his son was the closest thing to a traditional family unit Kelly ever had, but he was never married.
I thought it best not to respond to comments here because I contributed to the piece by being interviewed. After reading a few comments, however, I'm "stimulated" enough to say some things.
First, Corbie Hill was doing his job. Because he never met Kelly doesn't disqualify him from writing an article about his last days. Do you think every reporter writing a posthumous article on Prince ever met him? Of course not, so don't look at this like it was a "personal" thing, few writers know personally their subject matter.
Second, Who is Kent Thomas? Kent Thomas is the guy who basically saved Kelly from eventual homelessness. Kelly was kicked out of his Apt., living in a really seedy, crime ridden, dangerous part of Raleigh and Kent took Kelly out of that situation and brought him to his place, rent free. Kent was the guy who stepped up and took Kelly into his own domicile and asked for nothing in return. He tried to help Kelly help himself, and for that I'm grateful, so to answer the question. Kent is the good guy who came along and helped a good guy in need. Kent is way more than that, naturally, but that is why he's my hero in this story.
Third, I agree with Jeff Dennis, I'd liked to have seen a different angle to the story. Believe me, I gave Corbie a lot of info, from funny stuff Kelly and I got into as well as more serious, somber moments that arise from almost 30 years of friendship. Yet there isn't room in any article to use everything every interview subject says. You see, writers have editors, and Corbie could have put some funny story I told him in there, only to have his editor remove it. It isn't just up to Corbie, so cut the guy some slack on that. But yeah, it would have been nice to have read more about Kelly's rise/success than not. Kelly was an incredible songwriter, obviously a huge vocal talent, but he wasn't Jesus, so I guess whomever made the call to angle the story the way they did simply felt the way they went was the way to go, and yeah, that I would have preferred to have been different. In Corbie's defense, he was writing the facts as they were given to him, and sadly, yes, most of the stuff you don't like reading about Kelly is 100% accurate and true, and that's how Kelly would want it. He didn't sugarcoat things and he did not suffer fools gladly.
Lastly, towards the end of his life, it appears Kelly "shifted" his set of friends from his long term, "known them forever" set to a new group of people a lot of his old friends didn't know. I think he had his reasons, and I don't think I need to explain my theories, it was Kelly's business. But it caused confusion in a lot of people's minds, I think it was not unlike when an animal goes off alone into the woods to die, I think life had forced Kelly to his knees, the betrayals (you know who you are, girl, shame on you). Add to that (over the previous years) the loss of his sister, dad, then the recent loss of the woman he loved most in the world, his mom, he'd just given up. To quote Paul Westerberg, "They say a man in pain will prepare to die." Whether Kelly did it knowingly or not, I've no idea, but I think he knew what he was doing. Kelly was a smart guy, that is all I can really say.
I love my friends, and I love Kelly to this day. If you are my friend, I love you, too. But today marks 3 years since I got the call from JD and my world was shattered. Clark McQueen texted right after. It was one of the worst days of my life. Yet it makes me angry to read "this story isn't true" or "Who is this Kent Thomas?" The story is true, I wish it weren't, Kelly did (just like we all do) create some of his own problems. That doesn't make him a bad person, though. It's not a negative thing to say "The guy was human." We all are flawed, we all have faults. The bigger picture for me is a lot of folks loved Kelly, including me, and Kelly loved a lot of people. I think the sad thing here is that Kelly probably couldn't see just how many people really loved him and wanted the best for him, it was just something he couldn't see. I wish he could have seen the outpouring of love for him over the last three years. I don't think it will stop anytime soon.
I also think it's a shame that no one acknowledges Kelly's daughter, Alexa, who is a mom now (making Kelly a grandfather at the time of his death. I don't even know if he knew she'd had a baby. Maybe having such a young grandson would have given him a little more incentive to live, I just don't know). Nothing against Elijah, who has grown up to be a fine young man from all reports. I just know Alexa is out there, had a relationship with Kelly but somehow falls under everyone's radar.
My apologies to anyone I may have upset by stating my case, apologies for the length and stay close to love wherever you find it.
wow. That's amazing. I saw them a few years ago as the boyfriends and I predicted she would have an affair with him and run off with him. Won that bet!
The mid-19th-century minstrel banjo is one of the first manifestations of the meeting of these musical worlds - Africans and Europeans. Along with the fiddle, the banjo was the most popular instrument in African-American music in the United States through the 18th and into the 19th century. In the early 1800s, white musicians began to take up the banjo in imitation of southern African-American players. By the mid-1800s, white professional stage performers had popularized the banjo all across the United States and in England and had begun their own banjo traditions as they popularized new songs. Because these musicians usually performed with blackened faces, they came to be known as blackface minstrels. Interesting history.
Tickets for this concert are still available - call PineCone's box office to reserve your tickets or if you have questions: 919-664-8302. Concert info: https://pinecone.org/events/dom-flemons-ka…
I understand the desire to understand what, exactly, Moogfest means with their "protest stage", but this article starts out with a skeptical premise and basically takes lack of information as proof of said premise. It's ridiculous and the quality of research/aggressiveness of agenda here is something I'd equate to the Daily Caller or Breitbart - just on the other side. I'm newish to Durham but as far as I understand Moogfest hasn't exactly done anything to spite the city yet, and the author's definition of what constitutes protest seems to be pretty singular and myopic. Calling a bunch of non-profits that supports one's notion of progress and having them say they aren't working with Moogfest is really a reach. I mean, personally, I'd be happy if Moogfest did support those organizations, but just because they have a 'protest stage' doesn't mean they are all of a sudden obliged to do so prove this festival theme. Maybe it will all turn out to be a marketing ploy, but if that's the case it's a shame because you already wrote the piece before you had the facts.
There's also the very possibly obvious scenario that the 'Protest' stage will show artists who engage in 'protest music' and charging to see artists isn't some cynical gesture. If it's a big draw and that's how these artists make a living, well, that's how it goes.
This interview with Bob Nocek really jolted me. I was not surprised to read about the economic foibles of the theater when they occurred, but the ego and arrogance of Nocek--all I can say is wow. As a marketing and PR professional I was never awed by the theatre's marketing acumen--there were many empty seats at shows that should have sold more tickets.
The Carolina Theatre as a non-profit depends on donors and volunteers to put on its shows. Their staff is not large and as many 30 volunteers are needed to take tickets, provide customer service and usher during shows. Ultimately, the city of Durham controls the reins of the theater and pays the non-profit that runs the Carolina Theatre.
Nocek's failure to admit responsibility for the theater's fiscal meltdown also jolted me. He arrogantly says he was ""responsible" but did not do the accounting and was unaware of the situation. He was CEO of a small staff and didn't know there were financial problems? He admits in the interview he is capable of keeping his own books for his new company, but didn't have a clue about Carolina's financial condition. I find it very difficult to believe that a CEO in a company that does less than $3 million in business would not be curious enough to know how the business is doing month to month let alone every day. It wasn't hard to see which shows made money and which shows lost. It wasn't hard to figure that there appeared to be a lot of shows that lost money or didn't make enough of a profit compared to the shows that made money. I'm sure the theater knows the break-even point for each show and must have known income and expenses every month. Why didn't Nocek? He couldn't just yell down the hall and ask, "How did we do with that show?" It's not like he was running Exxon.
When an organization fails it is usually not the fault of one individual but a systemic flaw in the business. The Carolina Theatre is run by a board but the CEO has day-to-day operational control. Nocek takes great pride in the growth of the theater under his tenure, but it makes one wonder, given the size of the theater's fiscal hole, how much of that success was an illusion? He claims he increased sales from $600,000 to $2.5 million, but he left a hole of at least $1.2 million. That's not an accomplishment. His failure to take credit but not blame is egomaniacally astonishing.
I also don't understand how Nocek can walk away from a CEO position and then turn around and compete with the organization that suffered under his tenure. Didn't he have a non-compete clause in his contract? The result of the theater's financial disaster under Nocek left the city of Durham holding the bag for $1.2 million of which the city is forking over $600,000 to keep the theater afloat, a sum which the Carolina Theatre's board must match from donations.
His last answer in the interview shows Nocek's true arrogance when he talks about trying to "diversify" the audience by booking money-losing shows like Burt Bacharach and Frank Sinatra, Jr. Who were the diversified audiences he was trying to attract? Dead people?
I wish the Indy had gone deeper into its questioning of Nocek. Any curious resident of Durham must wonder what really happened at the Carolina Theatre.In the interview Nocek castigates people for blaming him. They have that right especially since their questions have not been answered. It's not very comforting to know that Durham's citizens must pay for Nocek's failure while he advertises Bob Nocek Presents across the state.
that gibson sg looks just like the one BIG BOY HENRY use to play. wish i could get to chapel hill tonight, i would like to hear it
One correction: None of the shows I've presented have been at The Carolina Theatre in Durham. They've been at The Carolina Theatre in Greensboro. I attempted to rent Durham's Carolina Theatre in 2016, and the Board of Trustees refused to allow me to rent a City-owned venue.
Great to see you doing so well, Bob!
Rusted Root has remained authentic and less worried about being cool. Their ability to stay true should be celebrated! And... They still sound great thanks to Michael Glabicki's relentless vision and his own artistic evolution.
I went to Duke in the early 90s, and worked at Brueggers Bagels on 9th St. every morning while I was in school. David was there first thing every morning, before anything else on the street was open. He never asked for anything more than a cup of water. I'd ask if he wanted a coffee or a sandwich, and he always shyly turned it down. I remember going outside on my lunch breaks, to the sound of his fiddle floating up from somewhere down the street. The city of Durham eventually chased all the homeless people out of the area. Yes, there were some aggressive panhandlers in the area, but David was never one of them. He disappeared. I always wondered where David went. About 10 years later, I had a job at NCSU, and found him again on Hillsborough St. It was clear no one was home, he usually just shuffled up and down the street carrying his violin. I saw this in my news feed this week, and sobbed. I realized all those years, he touched so many souls, and I never asked the man for his name. May you rest in peace David, and I know the music in heaven is all that much brighter for your presence.
I sincerely hope the statue happens and want there to be a link / address for donations!
A fine story but one correction: Pattie and I were not married in the 70s when we performed with David as Triangle; our wedding was in 1982 (and we're still married).
Yes I will miss him and his music. I did not know about his run for Senate, but it makes a certain amount of sense as does his disappointment. Rest in peace David, you made a difference.
INDY Week, how do I donate to the statue fund???
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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